- Great use of Move
- Spells work well
- Better suited to the younger gamer
- Far too linear
- Not a lot of room for experimenting with spells
- Combat is too repetitive
Looking for a must-have game that uses solely PlayStation Move is like looking for an iceberg in the middle of the Sahara Desert. We’re approaching two years since launch now, and despite the tech on the whole working pretty well, few would argue that even the best of the bunch have gone beyond the mere “good” barrier. Sorcery is the latest title to try its luck, putting you in the shoes of a sorcerer’s apprentice and aiming to put an end to the Nightmare Queen, while giving you the chance to live the dream of being Harry Potter without the need to invest in a fancy cloak and an overpriced twig. And while it’s certainly an enjoyable experience, it’s hard not to think that it could’ve been so much more than the end result.
As you probably already know, the whole game centres around you using the Move as a magical wand and the navigation controller/plain old Sixaxis to get you from A-To-B. Things start off simple, simply flicking your wand sideways levitates rocks, and rotating it reassembles stone structures to their former glory. Your actions are accurately detected on screen, and there’s no need to flail around in several directions just to get the damn thing to register. So it works properly, which is always a good start.
Then it’s onto the combat. Initially, it’s all about waggling your Move in the general direction of an enemy to send an Arcane Bolt into their face, but it’s not long before more powers come into the fold. As you progress you’ll learn new skills which emphasise the power of Fire, Ice, Wind and more, each of which are ideal against different types of enemy. Switching between them is quick and intuitive, simply holding the Move button and waving your wand around your head or by your side switches your power set, with a different gesture for each element.
They’re not just limited to combat either. Doors need to be burnt, waterfalls need to be frozen and tornados need to be blown if you’re to get anywhere in the adventure. Despite sounding good in concept, you can’t help but think it’s a missed opportunity in practice. The linear nature of the quest means there’s very little room for experimentation, and you’re pretty much told the spell you need to use at every turn. With a bit more freedom it could’ve been something quite special, but as it is it feels a bit by the numbers and like it’s holding your hand throughout.
Unfortunately, this also extends to around 80% of the combat. Simply spamming your regular Arcane Bolts at the Bogies and friends is normally the order of the day, while other magic types aren’t really necessary until you run into a shaman or a bomb carrier. You’re more likely to walk away with a tired arm than you are a stimulated mind, that’s for sure.
That’s not to say that the combat is bad, it’s just that a lot more variation would’ve gone a long way. The same applies to the whole structure of the game. Levels tend to go on for a long time along a set route, there’s no need for exploration for any more than about a hundred feet away. If you were to rate this as an action RPG without Move, you’d be looking at extremely sub-par stuff.
When you’ve got a minute to settle down, Alchemy is an important part of your character’s development. By combining ingredients that you pick up/buy along the way, you can produce potions to further improve your skills. Everything from new moves, to more health, to full-on transformations are covered, and potion production is done via the way of a Cooking Mama-style mini-game. It’s far from an instant deal-maker, but it’s a fun enough distraction.
It’s hard not to think of Sorcery as a missed opportunity. The Move controls are incorporated well and work with great precision, but they’re not supported by a game that ever stands up to them. Everything from the “My First RPG” feel to the story, to the overly-linear level design, to the repetitious combat let the package down a bit. That’s not to say it’s not a fun game to play, it is, but on the whole I definitely think it’s more suited to the younger gamer due to its simplistic nature. It’s not quite worthy of an Expelliarmus, but it’s well in need of a Wingardium Leviosa if it’s to float above the middle of the pack.